Gov’t infra spending inches up in May

Published July 19, 2022, 4:03 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Public infrastructure spending increased in May this year driven by the ongoing two railway projects, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported on Tuesday, July 19.

Based on the DBM’s May disbursement performance report, the government’s infrastructure and other capital outlays reached P80.5 billion, up 2.1 percent from P78.9 billion in the same month last year.

“This is mostly accounted by the increase in CRC [construction receipts of cash] payments of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the Malolos-Clark Railway Project and the Metro Manila Subway Project – Phase I,” the DBM said.

Moreover, DBM said capital outlay projects under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program of the Department of National Defense further boosted infrastructure spending during the month.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways recorded lower disbursements during the month owing to the election ban, the budget department noted.

In the five months to May, the DBM said infrastructure spending amounted to P334.6 billion, up by slightly 0.7 percent compared with P332.3 billion in the same period last year.

In 2021, infrastructure spending, including subsidies for state-run firms and equities for local government units, reached P1.12 trillion, equivalent to about 5.8 percent to gross domestic product (GDP).

Under President Marcos’ term, the government is targeting an infrastructure spending-to-GDP ratio of 5.0 percent to 6.0 percent annually between 2023 and 2028 anchored on the implementation of “coherent strategies, policy discipline, and fiscal sustainability.”

Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman earlier said the new administration will prioritize spending on enhanced infrastructure projects, including digital infrastructure, and utilization of renewable energy sources.

Last July 13, Pangandaman said the current government will “balance everything” despite the small increase in the programmed budget for 2023 at P5.27 trillion.

“After the number crunching, it’s really P5.2 trillion so we really have to work on that given the assumptions by the DBCC [Development Budget Coordination Committee[,” the DBM chief said.

The programmed budget for next year, which accounts for around 22 percent of GDP, will continue to prioritize education, the five-percent infrastructure spending, and social protection programs, among others, she added.